John "Johnny Boy" D'Amato (died January 1992) was a New Jersey mobster and former acting boss of the DeCavalcante crime family. After being recruited by Gambino crime family boss John Gotti to take over the family, he was suspected of engaging in homosexual activity and was murdered in January 1992.
After being promoted caporegime during the 1980s by Giovanni "John the Eagle" Riggi, D'Amato became heavily involved in large labor and construction racketeering operations with prominent New Jersey mobsters Giacomo "Jake" Amari and Girolamo "Jimmy" Palermo. D'Amato of the powerful Elizabeth faction of the DeCavalcante crime family, was soon a cooperator of high-ranking members Charles "Big Ears" Majuri and Gaetano "Corky" Vastola in illegal gambling and loansharking operations.
Recruited by John Gotti
After longtime boss Giovanni Riggi went on to be indicted for labor racketeering and extortion charges in late 1989, Vastola stepped up as the new acting boss of the North Jersey Mafia while Riggi was on trial. It was around this time, rival Gambino crime family boss John Gotti reached out to several members of the family, in an attempt to gain full control of it. One of these mobsters was D'Amato, who reportedly conspired with Gotti and his underboss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano into murdering Vastola. (Gotti was later convicted of this conspiracy.) Soon, Riggi was convicted of his charges and sentenced to 15 years in 1990, which meant that Vastola kept running the day-to-day activities. Only after Riggi's conviction, Vastola was convicted in major extortion charges and sentenced to eight years in prison. From behind bars, Riggi promoted D'Amato as acting boss of the DeCavalcante crime family.
Boss and downfall
D'Amato's reign was short. Later in 1991, D'Amato had an argument with his girlfriend, the same girlfriend whose captain Anthony Rotondo was also involved with, and she told Rotondo that when she and D'Amato were out at clubs during the evenings, D'Amato would be swinging and have sex with other men. Reportedly, Rotondo became quite upset and shared it with the current administration members Giacomo Amari, the reputed underboss, and Stefano Vitabile, the powerful consigliere, who acted on prior knowledge and decided to have D'Amato murdered while informing the incarcerated Riggi. In January 1992, D'Amato was reported missing. His body has never been found, although US law enforcement recovered his car and some of his blood in it.
US authorities never recovered D'Amato's body and didn't find any leads until ten years later, when law enforcement identified Riggi as the main conspirator in D'Amato's murder, as well as charging powerful capos Philip "Phil" Abramo, Giuseppe "Pino" Schifilliti and the reputed consigliere Stefano Vitabile in organizing it. Reputed men involved in the murder conspiracy Vincent "Vinny Ocean" Palermo, Anthony Capo and Anthony Rotondo would later testify about this murder against their former associates. In 2006, Abramo, Schifilliti and Vitabile were sentenced to life imprisonment. Riggi had another eight years added to his sentence. He was released on November 27, 2012.
- The Star Ledger Mob Story: How a crime family turned dysfunctional By Robert Rudolph